Zim to go on 21-day lockdown from Monday

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President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa is during a Russian-Zimbabwean meeting at the Kremlin, in Moscow, in January 2019 (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa is during a Russian-Zimbabwean meeting at the Kremlin, in Moscow, in January 2019 (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Zimbabwe will go on a 21-day total lockdown starting on Monday 30 March in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on Friday.

He said the decision came after government was advised that the country faced "continued potential grave threats" despite having recorded only five confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of Thursday.

In an address in Harare, President Mnangagwa said all non-essential services were expected to completely cease operations for the next 21 days, while shops and food open markets would operate under the supervision of health officials.

In addition to food markets, industries producing food, water and sanitary products would also be permitted to remain open.

President Mnangagwa said his government was working on ways to support businesses and the economy.

"In light of shutdowns around the world, government will galvanise local industry and colleges to produce what we can locally; this includes the manufacture of sanitisers, personal protective equipment, and medicines," he said.

As part of the restrictive measures, all public transport will be grounded, save for the state-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) and government workers' buses, who will observe social distancing and sanitation practices. 

"The new restrictive routines must be internalised by all of us, regardless of positions in society," said Mnangagwa.

He said security forces would be deployed where there is non-compliance.

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